30 Jan 2012

Fiji at risk of more floods and landslides

3:55 pm on 30 January 2012

Fiji weather forecasters are warning of landslides and flooding as more heavy rain and high winds head towards the country.

A senior forecaster at the Fiji Meteorological Service, Amit Singh, says rain from a slowly moving depression near Vanuatu is already affecting the country and should reach its heaviest on Wednesday.

Mr Singh says up to 300 millimetres is expected over the whole group in a 24 hour period.

"Associated with that depression there is a convergence zone which is moving towards the Fiji group. Due to the convergence zone, we expect rain heavy at times over the whole group. There is a high chance it could become a cyclone by Wednesday and it could be similar to what we had last week or even more severe than that as the soil is already moist."

Amit Singh says strong winds are expected gusting up to 80 kilometres per hour, with wet and windy weather set to last for the next seven days.

The latest warning follows last week's deluge which left six people dead, including a family of four, buried under a landslide near the town of Ba.

Fifteen evacuation centres remain open and a state of natural disaster remains in force for Western parts of Viti Levu.